We are taught how to speak from the moment we are born. So much suffering and needless misunderstanding exists in our world and in day-to-day life. How often have you heard it said, or have said to yourself: “Is anyone listening?” On the subway, in political conversations, in the media, in schools, at work, in families; everyone is talking, but who is listening? We are taught how to speak from the moment we are born. We are educated to speak well and are rewarded for it. But, no one gives us any instructions about listening. Because of this, we have grown into patterns of communicating which are fundamentally based on talking. Typically, in conversation, listening is backgrounded and is used to gather clues for what to say next. The emphasis in our mental focus is in forming talk. The result is we are constantly talking to each other and rarely listening. And, what listening we do practice, is effectively a servant of our talking. And yet, listening is the essential element of communication. It is more important than any other element of communication in creating understanding. Listening is, especially, an essential art of leadership. Without effective listening, leadership loses effect. Talking directs. Listening understands. Effective leadership is direction with understanding. Working from the insight that the only thing that liberates and encourages people’s capacity to listen is the experience of being listened to and heard themselves; we will engage in a conversation about the inner dimensions of listening. We will explore some of the distinctions that may be observed in experience between listening from the head, the heart, the body, and the soul. Making space for listening is what allows the inner dimensions of listening to arise. This conversation will focus on increasing awareness and exploring forms of practice, which allow this space to emerge in professional and personal communication. Leah Kedar has over 25 years of experience leading organizational transformation efforts worldwide utilizing her expertise as an organizational consultant, group facilitator and a leadership coach. She is a Principle of The Kedar Group, LLC and a Senior Executive Coach with Integral Coaching and Consulting. Leah works with clients in the U.S. and internationally, facilitating organization transformation from the inside out. Her clients experience significant shifts in how they see and approach their work, including improved relationships and trust, increased regard and esteem for others, improved understandings across differences, increased and improved communication among team members, and enhanced ability to lead and set direction from an understanding of a broader vision of their organization’s future. Her orientation as an ethnographer and sociolinguist inform the holistic approach of her organizational transformation work. Ms. Kedar is known for her exceptional ability to bring together disparate voices in the pursuit of common goals. She is the author of “Voices of Children: AIDS Orphans in the District of Columbia” and editor of Power Through Discourse.
Extract from The Conversations with Masters Series.